Alzheimer's Disease - Radio Program Report
What is Alzheimer's Disease (Ad)?
Ad is the most common form of dementia. Dementia is a
loss of mental functions such as memory, language skills,
thinking, and reasoning, it can even change personality and
behavior. Ad severely interferes with a persons understanding
have and ability to relate to reality. Ad is a form of dementia
that is thought to be untreatable and the cause is still poorly
What happens to the brain in Ad?
In Ad there is damage to the brains nerve cells, the nerve tissue
becomes twisted and tangled forming the neurofibrillary tangles. A
sticky substance called beta-amyloid causes tissues to clump together
into plaques. The plaque and the tangles can damage healthy adjacent
tissue, causing the brain to waste away and the brain matter to shrink.
The disease is progressive and degeneration becomes worse with time.
The brain cells have a reduced ability to produce neurotransmitters -
chemical messengers that allow brain cells to communicate with one
another reducing brain performance, memory, and cognitive skills.
What factors increase my risk of developing Ad?
There are known factors and controversial factors. Here is the list:
- Advancing age over 65. About ten-percent of all those over 65 and almost fifty-percent of those over 85 have Ad.
- In rare instances family genes increase the risk (possibly as little as 1% of all cases).
- Women tend to have it more frequently than men (this may have to do with declining estrogen levels).
- Severe head injury.
- A history of high blood pressure.
- A history of mini-strokes or full blown strokes
- Aluminum (this is controversial).
- Elevated Homocysteine levels
What treatments are available for Ad?
There are many drugs available for Ad. There are scores more in
various stages of research and development. The current class of
drugs used to treat Ad inhibits an enzyme called cholinesterase.
By blocking this enzyme acetylcholine levels are allowed to increase
in the brain. In the brain of Ad patients acetylcholine levels are
very low, and this neurotransmitter is very important for learning
Cholinesterase inhibitors include Aricept, Reminyl, Exelon, and
Cognex. All of these drugs may temporarily improve memory in some
patients with Ad, they help slow the progression of the disease but
eventually there will be mental decline.
A recent study published in the December 2003 Journal Archives of
Neurology showed that chelation therapy with a drug called clioquinol
helped reduce levels of beta-amyloid in the blood and it is hypothesized
that this may have an impact on beta-amyloid plaque production in the
brain slowing down the progression of brain deterioration.
Is there any natural support for Ad?
Yes, a number of studies show that different nutrients may
decrease the risk of developing Ad, and others may be beneficial
to affected brain tissue.
Here are a list of studies and suggestions:
- Johns Hopkins University researchers followed 4,740 Cache County, Utah residents over the age of 65 from the mid 1990s. The risk of developing Ad decreased by over 60% in elderly individuals consistently taking vitamin E and vitamin C supplements over a period of time. The vitamin E had to be a minimum of 400 IU and the vitamin C had to be a minimum of 500mg> The study is published in the January 2004 issue of the journal Archives of Neurology.
- In a study of 1,092 men and women over 68 years of age, those with a blood level of Homocysteine over 14 umol per liter had twice the risk of developing Ad compared with the elderly with lower Homocysteine levels (it is interesting to note that elevated Homocysteine increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack). The study is published in a February 2002 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Commentary by Jerry Hickey R.Ph. Our answer to elevated Homocysteine is Homocysteine Reductase, one capsule every morning with breakfast.
Other nutrient suggestions:
- Cognition - 3 capsules 3 times a day with meals to enhance brain cell energy and improve brain cell function
- DHA 100mg - one capsule twice a day with meals will interact with the Cognition for improved benefit.
- Alpha-Lipoic Acid 100mg - three capsules twice a day with meals will interact with Cognition and DHA for improved activity.
- Vinpocetine 5mg - two capsules 3 times a day with meals.
- L-Carnosine with Pyridoxamine 500mg - one capsule twice a day.
- GliSODin with Catalase 150mg - one capsule 3 times a day.
- Ultimate Detoxification Formula - one a day with a meal.
- InVite - one pack a day with breakfast.
- IGF1 - 3 sprays twice a day under the tongue.
- Jerry's Greens - one tablespoon full twice a day in water.
- Turmeric 300mg - one capsule 3 times a day with food.
- Reds Hx - one level tablespoon full a day in with Jerry's Greens.
- Green Tea extract - 30 drops twice a day in with the Jerry's Greens
- Resveratrol 100mg - one capsule a day with breakfast.
- Piracetam 500mg - one capsule twice a day with meals (available with a prescription - compounded at Hickey Chemist's, Ltd.)